Law and Gender Ministry to provide water from local supply to Special Needs Centre

The Ministry of Law and Gender has said it is currently working on providing clean water to the Centre for People with Special Needs in Guraidhoo through the local water supply plant.

The announcement has been made following the issuance of a directive from the Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) ordering the ministry to make immediate arrangements to provide clean water that fits WHO standards to the community.

Observation teams from the HRCM found the water used at the centre to be contaminated with e-coli bacteria and has been advising the ministry to solve the issue since 2009.

Speaking to local media, Deputy Minister of Law and Gender Mohamed Zahid dismissed the HRCM’s observations, stating that residents of the centre were not currently using the contaminated water for drinking or bathing purposes.

He explained that the delay in supplying clean water to the centre came because of the Ministry’s intention of “acting justly towards all” and attempting to provide water from the plant to all locals of Guraidhoo instead of just those living in the centre.

“The water we naturally get from Guraidhoo is not of a quality safe for any use. We wanted to do things justly and equitably towards all. It is not fair to provide clean water only to those residing in the centre,” he is quoted as saying.

Zahid, however, added that water from the public supply can be continuously supplied to the centre within 25 days, while the rest of the island can expect to get the service by 2015.

The directive released by HRCM on October 14 callsed upon the ministry to immediately introduce temporary facilities which will provide clean water for basic needs, and requests detailed plans for dealing with the facility’s water and sewerage problems by October 19.

In 2011 the HRCM has conducted tests on the water available in the centre after receiving complaints that it had a foul smell. Three of four samples taken from the centre proved to be below WHO approval standards.

Hafeeza, head of the ministry’s section mandated with oversight of the centre, could not be reached at the time of press, while a ministry official who requested to remain unnamed declined from commenting on the matter.

The Malé Water and Sewerage Company (MWSC) signed an agreement with Kandooma Resort last year to provide a 30 tonne water plant to Guraidhoo as part of MVR1.5 million (US$97,600) investment.